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Will They be Interested?   
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Ishmael Addo
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I teach Sunday school and as such have many kids and teenagers among the people I spend my talking time with. There is always something very interesting to learn when you are around kids, from their naiveté to their blind faith, their queer sense of humour ….

Ever listen to a kid narrate the story of Adam and eve? You ain’t heard the full story until you hear a kid’s version.

On One particular Sunday while waiting on the kids for an afternoon class, I couldn’t help but pay attention to a wonderful conversation going on between two of the kids who had arrived earlier, the two kids both aged around 10 and couldn’t be more than 12 years, were seriously arguing on (between Liverpool and Chelsea) who the better team was.

Though both were exaggerating at certain times, I mean to say that Lampard is evil because he has too many girlfriends, is quite some emphasis on Lampard’s supposedly deviant behaviour especially with women; however I was taken aback by the kind of information these kids had. It was the close season of European football, so the only boiling point had to do with the transfer “war” going on and these kids had so much information, from Schneider’s potential move to Manchester United, Mourinho buying a player from Dortmund that they couldn’t remember the name, Chelsea’s Villas-Boas and even Henderson Joining Liverpool! Henderson? Geeeez! How many adults reading this actually know Henderson? Or even heard the name Henderson?

Occasionally when the argument gets tensed they will pause and ask of my Opinion, I tried my best not to influence the discussion, I only helped them with the names of the players that came up in their discussion.

A simple question I asked spoilt their party or so it seemed. I wanted to find out, as young sports enthusiasts, whether they knew ISHMAEL ADDO to which they said no, then followed Emmanuel Osei Kuffour, Samuel osei-Kuffuor (before you shout how, they were around 6years when Kuffour last played for the Black stars) GodFred Yeboah, Godwin Ablordey, all of which they said no, am I that old? I wondered. They should have been 4 or 5 years during the time of these players, so I fast forwarded to the current league and asked about Nathaniel Asamoah, while one knew Alex Asamoah, the other said no, I went on and on roping in players from other clubs and they had very little or no knowledge of them.

Growing up in the late 80 to early 90s in Bubiashie Ayigbe Town, the whole country had just one radio station, GBC Radio, and One Television Station GTV. (I cannot remember if CNN had come on GTV by then) I had access to both the 14 inch Black ‘n’ White TV and the “waaless” -my father wasn’t the “go to bed, put off the TV” type of man-, I could watch TV till “yen ara asase ne”. I also had free access to almost all the newspapers at that time; I read newspapers from the sports section hence till date my inability to read a newspaper from the front page.

Given the reasons above I was privy to news about top European players at that time, but who actually cared about John Barnes, Van Basten, Guillit, Rijkard, Thomas Brolin, Kennett Anderson Michael Laudrup, Gary Linekar Jean Piere Papin,Basile Boli or Maradona, eish! As for this Maradona! The way we lied to each other at school about him!

Yes they did come up in arguments but the real deal was with who Bofoakwa was playing next weekend or what else Shamo Quaye was going to do? Names like Stanley Aborah, Sarfo Gyamfi, Akakpo Patron, Prince Polley, Frank Amankwah, Eben Dugbatey, santrofi Acquah, Ablade Kumah, Alhaji Bello. (Whom I met for the first time in person, about 3months ago, wonderful guy!) These names easily came up in conversation or run through my ears, I’m sure there are a couple more that I have forgotten. A contributing factor could also be that I started going to the stadium very early, though at that time I actually felt it was a waste of time sitting for 90 minutes watching football and even at that, every young boy my age knew the names of these stars at that time whether they went to the stadium or not! On Saturday afternoons an under-17 match between Noble Arics and Cow lane babies or BT International, Future stars, Charity stars etc drew crowds to the Accra academy park or what we called the “proffe” park at Cable and wireless.

Among the reasons given for the recent apathy towards our local football is the advent of cable TV and the internet. Cable TV made it possible for us to watch tournaments like the Italia 90, Sweden 92, USA 94 and the European Champions league right from 1993, but in those days of international football, our local football was still very much patronised, hyped and discussed on radio and TV. So where did we go wrong? Is it the seemingly inability of the professional league in Ghana to catch up with modern trends? Is it the Ghanaian (African) insatiable taste for foreign goods, how can we get back to the halcyon days of Ghana football. During our formative years Shamo Quaye was on our lips these days the kids have Lampard, Gerard, Scholes, Messi, Ronaldo etc on their lips

In time past when the weekends were filled with shouts of Faaaaaaabulous, Phoooobia, Asaaaase Aban! Agosu mashie etc these days you could easily be forgiven for thinking either you are walking around the Stretford end in Manchester or the Fulham road in London, because its either Liiiiiiiiiiverpoooool!, United! Gunners! Or something of that sort.

I can recall arguments between my father, uncles and my father’s friends who lived in and around the 440 house in bubiashie, arguments which travelled late into the night, names like Peter Lamptey, Nketiah Yawson, Ahmed Polo, Adolf Armah, Jones atuquayefio, Mahama Acquah etc were mentioned and being Hearst of Oak fans, the miracle of El-wak never escaped any discussion.

Ten years from now will I be able to tell my son about the exploits of Shamo Quaye, Ishmael Addo, Emmanuel Osei Kuffuor, Jacob Nettey, Tanko Jentumah, Abukari Damba, Afo doodoo, the all conquering Accra hearts of oak “64 battalion team”? Will he even be interested?

More importantly will the youngsters of today be able to talk about Nathaniel Asamoah, Karim Alhassan, Emmanuel Clottey, Eric Nii Adjei, Jordan Opoku, Bismark Aidan, Mahatma Otoo, Abdul-Basit and co in the future?

Interesting times are ahead of us.

Source: Alfred Quaynor - [email protected] The writer is a staff of Barclays Bank Ghana Ltd and an avid lover of football

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